Car thief responsible for I-70 chase gets community corrections sentence
BRECKENRIDGE — Valeriy Statovoy, the man responsible for stealing a car and leading police in a high-speed chase down Interstate 70 while high on methamphetamine, received a community corrections sentence during a hearing Tuesday morning at the Summit County Justice Center.
On Sept. 9, 2019, an officer with the Silverthorne Police Department spotted a car driving down Colorado Highway 9 without its headlights on. The officer, believing the car might have been related to an active Summit County Sheriff’s Office investigation, stopped to observe the vehicle, according to court documents.
The driver, later identified as Statovoy, made an “erratic” U-turn at the intersection of Rainbow Drive and Highway 9, before blowing through a red light and heading onto the eastbound I-70 on-ramp. The officer activated his lights and attempted to initiate a traffic stop, spurring the eventual chase.
Statovoy made another abrupt U-turn on the ramp and drove into oncoming traffic on U.S. Highway 6 toward Dillon. After hitting another car, he turned back onto the on-ramp and continued onto eastbound I-70. According to police reports, Statovoy was driving between 70 and 100 mph during the pursuit, occasionally breaking and swerving toward the officer’s car.
There were multiple vehicles stopped outside the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels as Statovoy and officers approached. Statovoy attempted to pass the vehicles on the left shoulder through the tunnel but crashed at a high rate of speed on the east side of the tunnel.
After arriving at the crash site, officers spotted Statovoy crouched behind the rear of the vehicle. He ignored officer commands to show his hands, hopped the median and took off on foot across the westbound lanes of traffic and into a wooded area. Silverthorne officers, along with assistance from officers with the Colorado State Patrol and the Sheriff’s Office, began to look around the area.
The search didn’t last long. Officials with State Patrol spotted Statovoy hiding behind a bush and informed police of his location. Eventually, Statovoy got up from his hiding spot with his hands in the air. Officers then discovered that Statovoy’s vehicle had been reported stolen out of Glenwood Springs.
According to reports, Statovoy was unsteady on his feet during the arrest, and officers reported observing glossy eyes and slowed speech. Medical personnel transported Statovoy to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco, where he consented to a blood test. At the hearing Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Cava noted that Statovoy was on methamphetamine and other substances during the time of the crash. He was medically cleared and taken to the Summit County Detention Facility on felony charges of vehicular eluding, aggravated motor vehicle theft and first-degree assault, among others.
In December, Statovoy pleaded guilty to felony charges of vehicular eluding and aggravated motor vehicle theft, along with a misdemeanor charge of driving while ability impaired.
Statovoy appeared in custody at his sentencing hearing Thursday morning. Cava called for a community corrections sentence — an alternative in lieu of prison for felony offenders that allows restricted access to the community — pointing to the necessity to offer Statovoy proper substance-use treatment. Cava noted that while he has a considerable criminal history, almost all of the offenses were related to traffic or drug use.
Statovoy’s attorney, Carolin Whippo, asked the court for probation, noting that he already has a support system set up on the Front Range, including family, a job and housing opportunities to help him stay sober.
Finally, Statovoy addressed the court himself, speaking candidly about his desire to kick drugs for good.
“I realize if you look at the history in the (presentence investigation), my history on probation hasn’t been successful,” Statovoy said. “… Drugs are the issue, and when I went down this time, I messed up a lot of things for a lot of people. … I’m in the mindset now that I want to be successful this time. I would really like the opportunity to prove that.”
Ultimately, District Judge Karen Romeo decided to sentence Statovoy to three years in a community corrections facility. He’ll get credit for 165 days served.
“You were driving against traffic, going up to 100 mph, and the officers say you veered toward them,” Romeo said. “It was such a risk to the community, and the behavior was so egregious that probation is a lot to ask. … I think with your history of not being successful on probation, it’s not going to give you enough structure to help you.”